Telestream itv

ITV Daytime in the UK produces 7.5 hours of live television each weekday between 6am and 1.30pm, which includes ‘Good Morning Britain’, ‘Lorraine’, ‘This Morning’ and ‘Loose Women’. ITV Daytime also handles a growing amount of post-production for other ITV Daytime shows.

ITV Daytime Head of Technology John Barling and his team had been working toward transitioning their massive tape-based library to a digital system for several years. Stored primarily on LTO 5 tape, the task of retrieving specific material within and across the many archived shows was manual, difficult and slow, and the mechanical tape robot represented a single point of failure in the system.

The team anticipated that moving to a cloud-based digital archive would be an opportunity to increase the performance, flexibility and resilience of their operations. But like most broadcast operations, the required 24x7 uptime, combined with five or ten-year CAPEX cycles, meant transitioning to a cloud environment in small, measured steps instead of a comprehensive overhaul.

Turning Point

Nevertheless, when COVID made remote working essential in mid-2020, ITV Daytime’s cloud transition accelerated, since the editorial team would need remote editing facilities to access their Avid systems. The group explored their options and decided to invest in cloud workflows across the board, to set up remote workflows as well as maintain business continuity.

Telestream’s Kumulate content management system was deployed. It was used to replicate content recorded on premises to the cloud, and also to check the assets and associated metadata into the Avid PAM system to make searching easier.

Kumulate is back-end storage and lifecycle management software for MAM, PAM and other control applications. It presents all storage tiers – cloud or on-premise – to users as a single name space, and migrates data between the tiers with automated processes that do not affect day to day operations. By integrating storage management and file processing into their editing systems and tools, ITV Daytime’s editors can access video assets and projects without leaving their working environment.

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The ITV Daytime team also decided to use this project to finally move their massive, ageing tape library to the cloud for better performance. Within a 12 month period, the team had a Kumulate system working alongside the cloud storage service, which facilitated the migration of the tape archive to the cloud.

Double Challenge

Consequently, the challenge ITV Daytime set before Telestream was two-fold. First, they needed to set up regular transfers of content between their on-premises and cloud-based post-production systems. As described above, Kumulate was integrated into the NLE software. From there, users search for media directly using metadata, and fully or partially restore files from any of the storage tiers. Integrated transcoding delivers the material in the chosen format and size.

“Second, we tasked Telestream with the job of overhauling our deep archive requirements away from the LTO 5 SpectraLogic Robot System, and Kumulate was used for that as well,” said John Barling. Kumulate’s workflow functionality includes automated archiving, enabling media transformation and optimising file management as required across hybrid cloud storage. It is able to navigate public or private cloud, on-premise disk and LTO libraries.

“Some of our biggest gains are speed and reliability. We experienced regular tape drive failures, including media read errors or tapes getting stuck in drives. If you imagine a breaking news story when you need content super quick, even when everything is working as designed, the old system’s tape robot had to perform multiple steps before it could even begin to spool the tape and look for the requested file. The new system is much quicker,” John said.

Completely Cloud Editorial

Following a mirrored tape-plus-cloud trial, ITV Daytime was ready to move to a completely cloud-based archival workflow based on Telestream Kumulate in late 2022. One of the most significant post-production projects ITV Daytime put through the cloud-based workflow was a 10-episode cooking show called 'John & Lisa’s Weekend Kitchen', which aired at the end of that year.

Media was ingested from camera cards using the Telestream Vantage Media Processing platform and was automatically checked into the Avid on-premises production system. Telestream Kumulate also pushed the content to the cloud and made it available to all remote editing systems via the Avid Interplay system.

“It was edited entirely in the cloud, which was a major milestone,” John said. “There’s definitely a realisation here that you don’t need to build more physical edit suites to do more post work.”

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Further Workflows

Within ITV Daytime’s all-Avid environment for news gathering and editing, any ingested media that differs from their house format is automatically transcoded into XDCAM50 before checking it into the Avid PAM. This step is performed by the Vantage platform and means the editors can work on the content immediately, with no further processing.

Editors, librarians and traffic staff also use Vantage orchestration for outbound file deliveries where Vantage transcodes content to the required export resolutions. Vantage processing can be extended from on-premise systems to ITV Daytime’s cloud as well.

John and the ITV Daytime team have been trying out enhanced metadata capture using Kumulate in conjunction with various 3rd-party cloud services. This allows services such as AI-based facial recognition, speech-to-text and OCR to capture and automatically tag media with extra metadata to aid retrieval.

But perhaps more important than specific workflows is that, for ITV Daytime, the economics of the cloud and an OPEX model with subscription services now make sense, and feel like the best way forward for them into the broadcast future.